"All learning begins with one simple phrase, 'I don't know.'" ~Anonymous
My Philosophy of Education is based on:
  • my own experiences with the educational system
  • my experiences as a teacher
  • my experiences as a parent of a student
  • conversations with great educators
  • ongoing learning through coursework and professional development opportunities
  • sharing with my Personal Learning Network

Education must be student centered. The students are the most important part of the educational system. They are what it is all about and we need to stay focused on that at all times. There are so many components of education that are essential to learning and building a strong educational system. I chose some areas that I feel are of significant value.

Caring Community
As educators it is our responsibility to create an environment for students in which they feel valued. Students need to know that the people they are spending time with care for them, listen to their ideas and concerns and truly want them to succeed. This is important at all levels of education. Students will be more motivated and perform better if this caring community is fostered. This needs to start with the faculty and staff members in the school. They need to be models for the students in order to facilitate the type of community in which everyone cares for each other.

Inquiry Driven
Students need to be challenged to think about what they are learning. We need to present them with questions, problems and situations so that they can apply what they know in order to analyze and evaluate information. Students must have opportunities to become effective problem solvers. This is a skill that will benefit them in all areas of their lives. By using inquiry based learning, students become actively involved in the learning process. They are not simply taking in information. They are asked to find and use information to construct learning.

Ownership and Creativity
Creating is identified as the highest level according to Bloom's Taxonomy (http://moourl.com/dxw9s). When students are required to create something, they are able to use the other levels within Bloom's Taxonomy in order to do that. This also fosters creativity. Educators must allow students to develop their ideas and produce work that reflects their creativity. When students are given requirements, but have the opportunity to create something themselves, they will take ownership over that project and their learning associated with it.

Collaboration is a key element to quality education. Students must be given opportunities to work with others in order to solve problems and create. Collaboration needs to happen as a part of everyday learning as well as for more extensive projects and activities. This is a skill that students will need to possess as they move on past their years of schooling. Collaboration will allow students to learn from others and share their own ideas.

Life-long Learners
My son's Kindergarten teacher told us at Back to School night that she feels her most important job as a Kindergarten teacher is to help children form a love for school and learning. I believe that all teachers need to have that as one of their main objectives for the school year no matter what level of education. Educators should strive to instill in children a desire to learn more and a motivation to do their best. Teachers also need to act as models for their students. We need to share with them when we learn something new and share what we do in order to continue learning. We must keep in mind that we are preparing students not just for the next grade level, but for life.

Technology Integration
The term "technology integration" tends to communicate the idea that technology is a separate part of education that needs to be incorporated into teaching. I strongly believe that technology tools are comparable to pencils, books, rulers, etc. Technology is simply one tool, a very powerful tool, educators can utilize to assist children in the learning process. I feel that technology needs to be "infused" into education the same way that it is infused in the students' lives. It should be used seamlessly so that it is not seen as a separate element. I realize that this is an ultimate goal and that we need to take appropriate steps to make this a reality.

By infusing technology in education, we will enable students to collaborate. There are many technology tools that allow students to connect with others. They can use these tools to work with others within their class or school. Connecting with other classes outside their schools will allow students to explore other cultures, widen their audience and learn from a different point of view. Technology is a perfect tool to empower students to create and take ownership of their learning. Students can use WEB 2.0 and other technology tools to create in order to demonstrate their understanding of a concept, share their ideas and viewpoints, and find creative ways to convey a message. The use of technology also supports inquiry based learning. When students are presented with inquiry based learning activities, they can use technology in order to construct their learning. It also offers resources for students to be lifelong learners. Students can use technology tools to continue to learn about a subject or concept. They can also form learning networks to share with others and express their own ideas and thoughts.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.~Alvin Toffler